Submitted by Mike Tennent
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Front country - easily accessible
Undulating, small hills only
Native bushRiversideLakesideOpen tussock/grasslandsOpen ridges/topsVolcanic
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Sorry, but you need to pay for this run. As a local I paid half price ($21) and considered it well worth it.
So head down the trail. You are starting at the highest point of the run, so save some energy at the end for the climb. Stop and enjoy the views on the way and get a snapshot or two. As you head down the hill you will pass a trail off to the right with a number 7, ignore this for now, we will cover it later.
At the bottom of the hill take in Frying Pan Lake and the lovely stream that runs off it, follow the trail around to the sign that points left for Inferno Crater, up the stairs you go to the most amazing Blue Crater Lake. Then leave the main trail... you should see the sign for the Mt Haszard Hiking Trail... up you go... and up... into lovely native bush with the occasional stunning view. You will also get your first glimpses of Lake Rotomahana in the distance.
Follow the trail until it spits you out by the bus-road, go over the road and to the right and then almost immediately left following the trail to the lake. Follow this until you reach a sheltered bus stop and signs for Warbrick Terrace (no it's not a street, it is a terrace very similar to the Pink and White Terraces that lie at the bottom of Lake Rotomahana.)
Follow the trail to the terrace, grab some pics, there's a loo there too if needed and head back to the bus stop. Head along the footpath/track on the right side of the road toward the lake. This is soon signposted at the Wetlands Track. Between here are the lake it intersects with another track a couple of times, keep taking the left branch. Once you reach the lake, take the trail to the right to the bird-viewing area and then turn and head back.
This time as you leave the lake again stay left and take the other trail all the way back to the bus stop. Back on the main trail until you come to where you came out of the Mt Haszard Track, this time go straight past and follow the main track until it splits. Take the left split up where it says "Return to Entrance only via High Level Footpath"... high level means climb... so you do! Take in a few more views and a lot more gulps of oxygen and the trail will spit you out by the number 7 we saw earlier. Turn right and re-trace your steps to where you went left to Inferno Crater, this time go right down a stunning wee thermal valley. This will bring you back to the previous split, turn right again up High Level Footpath. This time when you get to the main trail at number 7, turn left and head up the hill to the finish.
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Features of interest
Volcanic scenery that is amazing, Lake Rotomahana (formed by the Tarawera eruption) and lots of neat birdlife.
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 0%
Technical Single Track: 0%
Moderate Single Track: 10%
Easy Single Track: 90%
Farm Road / 4WD Track: 0%
Gravel Road: 0%
Sealed Road: 0%
Waimangu Volcanic Valley is about 22km from the southern edge of Rotorua. From the Roundabout as you are leaving town, follow State Highway 5 towards Taupo for about 15km until you see the signs for Waimangu Road and Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Head down this road about 6 to 7km to the carpark.
Plenty of parking
Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.
Pretty good all year round, very well prepared trails
Thermal everywhere just off trail, stick to the trials.
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